Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 135 / NOVEMBER 1991 / PAGE 156

Mace Format. (disk utility software) (evaluation)
by Richard O. Mann

Have you ever formatted the wrong disk? In your hurry to prepare a disk for an important task, you grab the wrong one, shove it in the drive slot, and issue the fateful command, FORMAT A:. After the format is complete, you remove it from the drive, only to discover that it was the only copy of your club's membership list or your checkbook files. I can tell you from experience: It's not a good feeling.

A small set of programs, Mace Format helps you recover from such unhappy lapses in concentration. It includes a special formatting program for floppy disks, an undelete program, and a hard disk recovery program.

If you install Formatf, the disk formatter, in place of DOS's deadlier FORMAT command, you increase your safety level in two ways. First, Format won't format a hard disk, so you can't accidentally format your hard drive. Second, the program performs its own special brand of nondestructive formatting. Instead of wiping out everything on the disk, Formatf copies the files from the disk into temporary storage, formats the disk, and then writes the files back onto the disk and deletes them. Deleting a file doesn't remove the data from the disk; it just marks the file in the File Allocation Table (FAT) as no longer worth saving. If subsequent disk activity doesn't write over the sectors containing the original file, the undelete program can recover the data by restoring its entry in the FAT.

RxBak, the hard disk recovery program, stores an image of the essential FAT and directory files in a safe area. If you accidentally format your hard disk, the unformat program can miraculously restore your lost data.

Undelete and hard disk recovery programs are fairly common these days (PC Tools has both). While not unique, Mace Format's special way of formatting floppy disks certainly makes this a valuable application, one you'll be glad you have the next time you grab the wrong disk.